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eletriptan (Relpax): Migraine Drug Facts, Side Effects and Dosage

What is eletriptan, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Eletriptan is an oral drug that is used for treating migraine headaches. It is in the "triptan" class of drugs that also includes sumatriptan (Imitrex), zolmitriptan (Zomig), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), almotriptan (Axert), and frovatriptan (Frova). Migraine headaches are believed to be the result of abnormal activity in the brain that leads to dilation of the blood vessels on the surface of the brain as well as the tissues that surround the brain. The dilation of the blood vessels is believed to be associated with inflammation. The triptan class of drugs, including eletriptan, constricts the blood vessels, thus preventing migraine headache. While it is very effective in relieving migraine, it does not prevent or reduce the number of attacks of migraine. In a large study, it was shown to be more effective than sumatriptan in relieving migraine headache pain within two hours. Eletriptan was approved by the FDA in December 2002.

What brand names are available for eletriptan?


Do I need a prescription for eletriptan?


What are the uses for eletriptan?

Eletriptan is a triptan drug that is prescribed for the treatment of migraine headaches.

What are the side effects of eletriptan?

Common side effects include:

More serious side effects include:

What is the dosage for eletriptan?

Eletriptan 20 or 40 mg is taken at the first sign of a migraine attack. The maximum single dose is 40 mg. If the symptoms improve but then return after two hours or longer, a second tablet may be taken before calling the doctor. In any case, no more than 80 mg of eletriptan should be taken in any 24-hour period.

Which drugs or supplements interact with eletriptan?

Ergots, like dihydroergotamine (DHE 45) and ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot, Bellergal-S, Ergomar), or methysergide (Sansert) can cause constriction of blood vessels. It is possible that these effects may add to the effects of eletriptan. Therefore, it is recommended that ergot-containing drugs not be used within 24 hours of eletriptan.

Ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), nefazodone (Serzone), clarithromycin (Biaxin), ritonavir (Norvir), and nelfinavir (Viracept) may increase the amount of eletriptan in the blood by blocking an enzyme in the liver that's important in eliminating eletriptan. Eletriptan should not be taken if any of these medications have been taken within the previous 72 hours. Other drugs that block the same enzyme include diltiazem (Cardizem; Dilacor), Verapamil (Calan; Isoptin), fluconazole (Diflucan), voriconazole (VFend), indinavir (Crixivan), and erythromycin (Ery-Tab).

Is eletriptan safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Safe use of eletriptan in pregnancy has not been established.

Safe use of eletriptan in nursing mothers has not been established.

What else should I know about eletriptan?

What preparations of eletriptan are available?

Tablets: 20 and 40 mg

How should I keep eletriptan stored?

Eletriptan should be stored at room temperature, 15 C – 30 C (59 F – 86 F), away from heat and light and out of the reach of children.


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